Over the past year, films like Wonder Woman, Get Out and Girls Trip drew women and people of color to theaters.
But the people writing the reviews of those films were overwhelmingly white and male, according to a new study by the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative.
To determine the gender and race of the nation’s film critics, researchers analyzed reviews of the 100 top grossing movies of 2017 posted on Rotten Tomatoes, which compiles critiques from newspapers, websites and broadcast outlets.
The report titled “Critic’s Choice?” examined 19,559 reviews and found that 77.8 percent were written by men, while female critics authored 22.2 percent of reviews.
Of those reviews, 82 percent were written by White critics, while 18 percent were authored by people from underrepresented racial/ethnic backgrounds.
“The very individuals who are attuned to the under and misrepresentation of females on screen and behind the camera are often left out of the conversation and critiques,” said Dr. Stacy Smith, founder and director of the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative. “The publicity, marketing, and distribution teams in moviemaking have an opportunity to change this quickly by increasing the access and opportunities given to women of color as film reviewers.”
The study also looked at the “Top Critics” section of the website and found that 76 percent of the top reviews were written by men and 24 percent were authored by females. Only 2.5 percent of top reviews were written by women of color.
“Even among top critics, the words of white and male critics fill a greater share of the conversation than females and people of color,” said Marc Choueiti, the study’s lead author. “Re-examining the definition of a top critic or simply casting a wider net can be the opportunity to open up and diversify the voices heard in the critic space.”